Noel McNamara is leaving his role as Leinster Academy manager to become an assistant coach with South African side Sharks.

McNamara was head coach of the Ireland U20s from 2018 to 2020, winning a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019. He was appointed academy manager at Leinster in the same year.

The Clare native has also coached both the Ireland and Leinster schools representative teams as well as Leinster U19s, U20s and Leinster A.

McNamara said: "I am grateful to the IRFU and Leinster Rugby for helping to facilitate this move which will be another great learning and development opportunity for me as a coach.

"This appointment is exciting for both me and my family and I am looking forward to getting started."

David Nucifora, IRFU performance director, said: "Noel is a smart ambitious young coach who has achieved success at underage level.

"Noel has progressed through the coaching pathway in Ireland and in recent discussions with Noel, it was clear that he was in need of a fresh challenge that would help accelerate his coaching career.

"Noel’s time in South Africa is sure to benefit Irish Rugby in the future. We wish him well and will be monitoring his progress closely."

Leinster will face former Super Rugby side Sharks, who are based in Durban and finished third of the four South African teams in the Pro 14 Rainbow Cup, in the inaugural United Rugby Championship next season.